南の猫の里帰り雑記

29年ぶりに帰国して3年日本にいたけどNZに里帰り

 四匹の子犬

来年の戌年にちなんで、小話を。

A farmer had some puppies for sale. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups. A little boy came along. "Please," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a lot of money."

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.

"I've got nearly three dollars. Is that enough to take a look?"

"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. "Here Dolly!" he called. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by three little balls of fur. The little boy's eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up...

"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."

With that the little boy reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.

"How much?" asked the little boy.

"No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love."


農夫が子犬を売ろうと、四匹の子犬の看板を書いた。小さな男の子が来て、言った。「お願い、子犬を一匹、下さい。」

「うーむ、」と首筋の汗を拭いながら、農夫は言った。「立派な血統の子犬だから、高いぞ。」

男の子はしばし、首をうなだれた。ポケットに手をつっこむと、手に一杯の硬貨を取り出して、農夫に差し出した。

「三ドル近くあるんだ。見るだけなら、足りる?」

「まあ、いいか。」農夫は言って、口笛を吹いて呼んだ。「来い、ドリー。」犬小屋から坂道を下って、ドリーがふかふかの毛玉を三匹ひきつれてやってきた。男の子の目が喜びに輝いた。柵にたどり着いた犬達とは別に、まだ何か動く物が犬小屋にいるのに男の子は気付いた。ゆっくりと、もう一つの毛玉が表れた。明らかに、小さい。坂道を転げておちた。そして、何やらぶきような様子で、よたよたと歩き始めた。一生懸命、家族に追いつこうと・・・

「あの子犬がいい。」と男の子は発育不全の子犬を指した。農夫は男の子のそばに跪いて言った。「ぼく、あの子犬はやめた方がいい。他の子犬達のようにぼくと一緒に走ったり遊んだりは、決してできないんだよ、あれは。」

そう言われると、男の子は片方のズボンの裾をめくり上げ始めた。特別あつらえの靴につながる金属製の矯正機に支えられた足が表れた。農夫を見上げると男の子は言った。「ね、ぼくもよく走れないんだ。あの子犬はわかってくれる人が必要なんだ。」

目に涙を浮かべて、農夫はその子犬を持ち上げると、そっと男の子に手渡した。

「いくら?」と男の子は尋ねた。

「金はいらないよ。」と農夫は答えた。「優しさに値段はつけられないよ。」

(出所不明、訳 南の猫)